June 20th, 2024

Exhibition celebrating 125 years in 2022

By Dale Woodard - Lethbridge Herald on February 5, 2022.

The Lethbridge & District Exhibition is celebrating its 125th birthday and southern Albertans are invited to join in the festivities.
As the party kicks off, the Lethbridge & District Exhibition announced the 2022 Signature Event line-up Friday with the intent to deliver re-imagined event experiences to the community and the 400,000 guests that gather on the campus grounds each year.
‘It’s an exciting time to be in the event industry,” said Mike Warkentin, Chief Executive Officer for the Lethbridge & District Exhibition. “It’s something we’re looking forward to, welcoming people back to the park in a more normal way. We’ve been fortunate in that we’ve been able to do a lot in the past couple of years that others haven’t been able to in a safe and responsible way. This year we look forward to expanding that event portfolio and providing unique opportunities for southern Albertans to come together.”
New this year is the Lethbridge & District Exhibition Lotteries Program, which will launch ahead of the Signature Event season.
The lotteries program will provide a guaranteed prize-incentivized lottery pool of $125,000 to generate participation and earnings from Albertans across the province. 
The new program will continue to grow throughout the year with new incentives and opportunities to win.
“The lottery is a new addition that will span the entire year,” said Warkentin. “We really want to connect with people outside the market.”
Warkentin said the first element of the lottery they’re introducing is the progressive 50-50 that will run throughout the entire signature event season and will kick off at the Ag-Expo March 2-4.
“Throughout the year we’re looking to add other elements of lottery programming into that portfolio as well. It’s something a lot of other exhibitions are introducing into their annual programming. It’s something that, when we had the opportunity through the pandemic to connect with other ag societies and other ag exhibitions, it’s a very similar way in which they connect with their community. So we wanted to be able to offer the same opportunity.”
The Ag-Expo will invite the farming industry and regional community of growers, producers and processors to trade and invest in Lethbridge.
The Lethbridge & District Exhibition will kick off summer in partnerships with Alberta Pork and Hickory Street for the Smoke, Wind & Fire master series barbeque competition July 23-24. 
The two-day festival will recognize the skills and expertise of grill masters across the province.
Whoop-Up Days will run from Aug. 23-27.
This summer’s fair will include the return of professional rodeo.
The 2022 fair will also launch a brand-new art show to showcase southern Alberta’s vibrant arts community, local artists, and the creatives capturing the southern Alberta vibe.
“Whoop Up Days has always been what we’re known for and it truly ties the history we’ve had in this community dating back to 1897,” said Warkentin. “It’s really that coming together of southern Alberta. So one of the things we wanted to do this year was focus on the cultural aspects of what that looks like. We’re going to be working with the Blackfoot Confederacy on Indigenous programming.”
Along with the re-introduction of professional rodeo with the CPRA, the PRCA and the Rocky Mountain Turf Club, West Coast Amusements will also be back in town, said Warkentin.
“Then (it’s) slowly building out the portfolio as the construction allows us to do so. This year will still be different as it has in the past and then as the site gets back to what it normally looks like we’ll begin to introduce some of those programming elements people are used to in the future.”
Warkentin said there are plans for a fireworks show as part of the summer. 
“There will be more to come on that and it will certainly be something that we’ll work into our 125th celebrations.”
Warkentin said at this point in time they’re not going to have a major entertainment stage mostly due to the construction and the uncertainty around COVID at the time they would have been booking the acts.
“So it will likely be local in scale again this year.”
Warkentin said more information will be issued in the next week.
“We wanted to make sure everybody knew we were planning to run our full signature event calendar and we look forward to welcoming you to the event.”

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pursuit diver

Timing is great! We all can celebrate the being able to come together outdoors without fear of viruses! This is perfect timing! We need to celebrate not being locked down or restricted or wondering what the variant will be!
125 years! The 25th Artillery Bronze monument is supposed to be dedicated soon as well at the exhibition!
I think we are going to see a lot of busy parks this summer and family reunions celebrating being able to unite and this is something we all should embrace!